Tuesday, 26 May 2009

SABIP seeks tenders for research into UK IP enforcement

The United Kingdom's Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property Policy (SABIP) recently commissioned and received a literature review on IP enforcement (by Messrs Weatherall, Bently and Webster). Now it plans to move to the next phase by putting out a tender for bids by individuals and organisations capable of undertakinga full review of "Current social, Economic and Business Issues for Small- and Medium-Sized firms in the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (IPS) in the UK". The report is expected to provide SABIP with substantial insight relating to:

• Incidence (volume, value etc.) of alleged breaches of IPRs.
• Incidence (volume, value etc.) of challenges to the validity of IPRs.
• Estimated value of losses due to infringements of IPRs.
• Enforcement options available (including ADR, streamlined procedures) and their use (volume, value etc.).
• Reasons for taking/not taking the various courses of action available.
• Satisfaction with the outcomes.
• Subsequent actions as a consequence of the enforcement outcome.
• The volume of disputes resolved through non-litigious means.
• Enforcement-related costs in the UK.
• Social, economic and business implications of IP enforcement procedures.
• Alternative solutions to the settlement of disputes e.g. licensing.
Time is of the essence, since SABIP wants results within 16 weeks, subject to contract. It is expected that bids will be in by the end of June. The project will conclude with a final report and a seminar presentation of the main findings to the SABIP Enforcement Research Project Working Group. SABIP will use evidence generated by this project to formulate policy recommendations to government. Inevitably this research will focus on the cost of litigation which, in the case of patents, is increasingly a subject of debate. Thus the specification states, citing the literature review of 2009,
"[T]he available data seems to confirm that patent litigation in the UK is more expensive than patent litigation on the continent by a significant degree. The data however is relatively scant, relates only to patents and is based mostly on estimates from a small number of practitioners. No work has been done to ascertain whether costs have changed over recent times with the introduction of the Streamlined Procedure by the Patents Court".
PatLit wishes whoever gets the contract the very best of luck in delivering what looks like quite a lot in a fairly short time. We all await SABIP's recommendations to the government with eager anticipation. In the meantime, does anyone have a handy list of recent and ongoing reviews that touch upon patent/IP litigation in the United Kingdom? There seems to be a lot on offer right now.

Litigation before the Comptroller of Patents here
Jackson Review of the cost of civil litigation here
Proposals for unified patent litigation in Europe here
The Burdon Plan here
Comments on the Burdon Plan here

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